Pursuant to the Media Act, the duties and powers related to the surveillance of media governance are divided between the Media Council and the Office of the NMHH. Within that context, the Media Council relies on the Office of NMHH to monitor the annual reports of the media service providers using the frequencies, verify compliance of the content of the concluded regulatory contracts and the media service fees to be paid by the operators, assess annual advertising spendings in the Hungarian media market, and evaluate the changes on the advertising market. The objective of the Media Council is to protect the rights and interests of viewers and listeners, i.e. to ensure that Hungarian media consumers can enjoy programmes compliant with the law. To this end, the Council urges television and radio stations to provide services in compliance with the Media Act, which offers a clear framework to providers.
As part of the surveillance, the NMHH and the Media Council carry out the following, among other functions:
verify compliance with programming quota obligations (a certain percentage of broadcasters’ airtime must be dedicated to European and/or Hungarian music – for radio stations, such provisions apply to music that is either Hungarian or no more than 5 years old);
assess the compliance of commercial announcements i.e. advertisements (this includes, among others, the provision that the combined duration of advertisements in linear commercial media services may not exceed 12 minutes (6 minutes for public service broadcasting) per programming hour, no advertisement may violate human dignity, minors may not be directly invited to purchase a product);
check compliance with regulations on the broadcasting of content harmful to minors (this obviously implies obligations concerning the age rating of programmes, as well as the fact that the resulting rating signs must be featured in both online and printed programme guides);
conduct research and analyses (monitoring, among others, the share of crime reports in news programmes, assessing the latest television adverts, product placements other harmful content that may appear in reality shows);
make decisions in matters of balanced coverage (media services are required to cover subjects that are significant and of general interest in a comprehensive, factual, up-to-date, objective and balanced fashion);
ensure that closed captioning is provided for audiences with a hearing impediment (as for public broadcasters and media service provider with sifnificant influence, all announcements, political advertisements, news programmes, as well as any other features presenting political affairs or people with a disability must be made available with subtitles for the hard of hearing) and
continuously assess whether service providers comply with their reporting obligations.
Society’s control over public service broadcasters is guaranteed by the Public Service Board, which also monitors how public service orientation is manifested. The NMHH is in charge of coordinating the appointment procedure of members of the Board.